Parks News

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Please note:  our programs may be subject to changes based on the latest Public Health Orders and to ensure safety of participants and RDCO staff. 

 

EECO closed June 10 and 11

 We've had to close the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park today and tomorrow (Friday, June 11) due to the odours inside from the exterior staining of the facility. Sorry for the short notice and thanks for understanding to keep everyone safe.  We hope to be able to reopen the facility on Saturday, June 12.

Wood lake algae bloom update June 4

The District of Lake County, Regional District of Central Okanagan and Interior Health are monitoring an algae bloom on Wood Lake. On June 4, Interior Health updated its information advising residents and people visiting Wood Lake not to drink, swim or bathe in the water and keep animals from the lake due to the algae bloom as it can cause water to become dangerous to people, pets and livestock.  For the most up to date information, please visit: 

 

early closing planned for five regional parks

The vehicle gates to five RDCO Regional Parks with paved parking areas will be closing earlier than normal next week.

Rather than closing at 11 p.m., the gates will close at 9 p.m. for the following parks and dates so crews can paint pavement parking stall lines:

Signs advising of the change in gate closing times are being posted in advance to let visitors know of the adjusted gate closing hours.

No other parks are impacted by the adjusted closing times.  From June 1 to August 31 Regional Parks are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 74 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

 

EECO gets a new coat

Starting Monday, June 7, the exterior of the EECO log building in Mission Creek Regional Park will be getting a new coat of stain and paint.

Please watch for directions and any changes in access to the building. It should take about 10 days to complete. 

In addition, some parking stalls to the east and north of the EECO will be cordoned off to prevent any overspray from staining and painting. 

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we spruce up and protect the exterior of the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan!

Register for playSkills Summer Camp

Play Skills Summer Camp is held at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads). 

Registration is underway for these full-day camps for youngsters ages six to nine, Monday to Friday July 5-9, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

During this fun week of nature exploration, play, and activitie mornings are dedicated to developing fundamental movement skills and the ABCs of athleticism: agility, balance, and coordination. In the afternoons, children become nature detectives, discovering park trails and ponds, making new friends and growing a life-long interest in the wild world. The cost per child is $190 for the week.

Learn more about this camp and register at rdco.com/parksevents or by contacting the EECO at 250-469-6140, or email eeco@rdco.com.

 

safe in-person regional parks programs return

Regional Parks Visitor Services staff are happy to see you once again!

In-person interpretative programs are once again being offered with limited numbers of pre-registered participants following the latest COVID safety guidelines.

Isabella Hodson, Supervisor of Community Relations and Visitor Services, says “We’re so excited to be able to once again share our park programs with visitors.  In order to keep staff and participants safe, we’re limiting the number of people for each of our programs.  They must also pre-register on our website at rdco.com/parksevents.  Of course, hand sanitizer will be available and physical distancing is maintained during the events for everyone’s safety.”

Among the programs available during the rest of May and June:

  • Pond Study – join our guided walk to the turtle pond in Mission Creek Regional Park and learn about the aquatic critters that call it home.
  • Let’s Talk Trees – learn about various tree species in the Central Okanagan and how they connect with each other.
  • Four Food Chiefs – we celebrate and share knowledge of these pillars of the syilx culture and people for thousands of years.

Information on dates, times and locations for these programs and more can be found at rdco.com/parksevents or in the latest Park Program Guide.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 74 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

 

Algae bloom low risk to public

Interior Health, the District of Lake Country and the Regional District of Central Okanagan (Reiswig Regional Park) are monitoring a large algae bloom on Wood Lake. While the bloom contains blue-green algae, testing indicates the risk to the public remains low. The water is considered safe for use.

Visitors and residents are reminded not to drink or cook using untreated water directly from lakes, ponds or wetlands due to the risk of waterborne illness. Boiling the water will not remove any toxins from blue-green algae blooms. Provide pets and livestock with an alternative source of drinking water where there are active algae blooms, as they can be sensitive to toxins.

Algae blooms are naturally occurring throughout B.C. Blooms may vary in colour from blue, green, brown, yellow, orange to red and appear like foam, scum, mats on surface or soup. Some algae blooms may also smell unpleasant. Algae blooms containing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) may produce harmful toxins.

Additional Information on Cyanobacteria Blooms is available at HealthLinkBC, https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/blue-green-algae

Additional information on algae is available on Ministry of Environment’s Algae Watch website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/water-quality/algae-watch

 

Greenway underpass closed

Rising water levels forced the closure of Gordon Drive bridge underpass along the Mission Creek Greenway.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan urges visitors to respect any barricades and closure signs posted at these locations as they will remain closed until waters recede.

Pedestrians and cyclists are asked to use caution and only cross Gordon Drive when it is safe.  Motorists are also asked to watch for Greenway users who may be crossing the road in this area while the underpass trails are closed.

Regional Parks staff continues to monitor creek levels along the Mission Creek Greenway and Scenic Canyon regional park recreational corridor. 

People are reminded that during spring runoff water levels in area creeks may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in 30 regional and 20 RDCO community parks for visitors while practicing physical distancing.  Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.

For more information contact Parks Services at 250-469-6232 or email parks@rdco.com.

 

East Park Development begins in Mission creek regional park

The first phase of new development is underway in the east part of Mission Creek Regional Park.

From now until June, crews will be working in this area of the park, south and east of the Leckie Road parking lot.  View Map

This area will be closed for:

  • Building new gravel surfaced trails
  • Upgrading of existing trails and circular pathways
  • Construction of four new wooden footbridges
  • Building a new nature play log obstacle course
  • Turf grass areas
  • Accessible picnic tables and other park amenities

While most of the parking lot will remain open, ten stalls will be closed for construction equipment and materials staging and storage.

Visitors are asked to stay out of the signed, closed area and to be aware of trucks and heavy equipment accessing the work area from Leckie Road parking area.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 74 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

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Canada-BC Grant helps build out access to regional park

Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park will become more accessible, thanks to a large infrastructure grant.

Under the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the two senior governments will contribute almost $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.   The Park protects cultural assets as well as a unique Okanagan grassland habitat.

The federal government is contributing $390,000; the BC government $324,967, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide $260,033 for a project that will build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.

RDCO Chair Gail Given says “This is an exciting investment in our community and the largest of our 30 regional parks. The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan.”

Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson says “lim ləmt, thank you, to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors. As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation co-manage the protected 640-hectare regional park which is a significant cultural, historic and geographic namesake landmark.  It’s home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is vital to the syilx/Okanagan people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making found in the area. In nsyilxcín (in-SEALK-chin - Okanagan language), sntsk‘il’ntən (sins–te– KEEL–ten) translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”.

The funds will be used to build three, new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain.  In addition, important park amenities will be constructed:

  • washrooms
  • parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road
  • information and kiosk signage
  • guard rail fences

The work is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.

It’s expected an official park opening will take place this fall and while work in the park is still underway, some of the park is open now. The current temporary access to Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park is through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain park.  The Swainson Road access is currently closed while the Black Mountain Irrigation District installs a new water main.  Residents are asked to stay on the trail so natural areas are not disturbed.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)